Forget Ken Malcome. That’s so 2009.
Say hello to Boo Malcome. Now that sounds more like an SEC tailback!
Actually, they’re one in the same. “Boo” is a nickname that Ken Malcome has been going by for years among family and friends. The Southwest DeKalb running back plans to break it out as a full-time moniker when he reports the University of Georgia to begin his college football career in June.
“I just like that name,” said Malcome, who also said he’ll be wearing the number 24 for the Bulldogs next season. “My family calls me that and people at school and in my neighborhood call me that. I feel like it gives me some swag and kind of motivates me to do better. It’s got a ring to it, kind of like Juice Williams, Bo Jackson, Champ Bailey.”
Malcome informed me of the name change during an interview on Wednesday. The way it came up was I asked him whether he was going to go by Kendrun, his given first name, or Ken when he got to Georgia.
“Well, actually I’m changing next year to my other name, Boo,” he said.
I think I asked him three times to repeat it.
Malcome explained that his middle name is Bernard and his family shortened it to Boo when he was a young boy. They’ve been calling him that ever since.
As for the number 24, Malcome wore the number 34 at Southwest DeKalb and, well, nobody is going to wears 34 at Georgia (unless Herschel Walker comes back for that final year of eligibility).
Giving up 34 was tough for Malcome. He has worn it since Pop Warner league. I wondered if he’d broached with Georgia’s coaching the notion of breaking out the ol’ 34.
“No, I didn’t bother to ask,” he said with a laugh. “I know Herschel Walker was a great running back. I just left it alone.”
Actually, Malcome said he started wearing 34 because he was a fan of Walter Payton.
“I didn’t hear about Herschel Walker until like my ninth-grade year really,” Malcome said. “Then I started getting comparisons to him. I heard that a lot.”
Nowadays there is not a bigger fan of Walker than Malcome. He has even taken to training like the Bulldog great.
“I heard Herschel say on YouTube — I was watching a highlight film on him not too long ago — and he said doing pushups and sit-ups was better than lifting weights. So I do pushups and sit-ups every night, a hundred pushups and a hundred sit-ups. Herschel said he did 200. I’m like, ‘wait a minute now.’”
That’s not all Malcome is doing. Now fully recovered from a broken collarbone suffered against Clarke Central in the second round of the playoffs last fall, he’s back to lifting weights. In fact, he has been following a regimen provided to him by UGA’s strength and conditioning staff. He’s also running track for the Panthers, competing in the 100-meter dash and the 4×100 relay.
Malcome said he’s doing everything he can to get ready for Georgia in the hopes of competing for playing time as a true freshman. And while he won’t be wearing his beloved 34, there’s a new tradition to uphold in the 24 jersey.
Knowshon Moreno made it famous in 2007-08 and Washaun Ealey had a standout freshman campaign rocking those digits last season. Ealey gave it up to get the number 3, which he wore in high school
“I feel like there’s a tradition with 24,” Malcome said. “I like that Knowshon and Washaun wore it. If I get it, and they say I will, then I’m gonna keep it all the way through.”
We’re assuming that goes for both numbers and nicknames.